Domestic Tourism Safaris | Uganda
The Queen Elizabeth National Park, situated on both sides of the equator, lies between lake Edward and lake George. Boundaries of the reserve include the littorals of both lakes, which are in turn connected by the kazinga channel (32km) lying within the National Park. In the North on clear days from the terrace of the Mweya safari lodge can be seen the snow – capped massif of the Ruwenzori (Mountains of the moon).
To the west beyond, littering lake Edward, rise the Mitumba Mountains in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC), the western escarpment of the western rift valley. Contiguous with this national Park is the Democratic republic of Congo (DRC) Albert National Park. Together with the Albert N.P, the Queen Elizabeth National Park covers one of the Scenically most spectacular regions of Africa, both National Parks literally filled with Mammals and birds: The Queen Elizabeth N.P. is renowned for its numerous elephants, large herds of buffaloes, thousands of hippopotamuses, and multitudes of aquatic birds.
South western Uganda Area: 220,000 ha Protection: total, except for a few fishermen’s villages: staff over 150: game control of hippopotamuses: 480 km of tracks within the Park: excursions by launch on Kazinga channel: entrance fee. Access: by road and by air Accommodation: Mweya lodge.
GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY
The area lies in the western arm of the Rift valley. During the last half of the Pleistocene period earth movements and volcanic eruptions created the actual land scape, and some dramatic geological events were even more recent. An extremely violent eruption occurred NE of lake Edward probably about 7,000 years ago and many holes were blown through the crust of the earth.
This region with its 78 explosion craters at the foot hills of Ruwenzori covers about 208 square Kilometers.
(The craters vary in depth, 15 – 150m, their walls shrouded in forest). Lake Edward once covered a much larger expanse: hence the soils in this park derive from lacustrine deposits and Volcanic tufts, ejected from the nearby craters. This national park chiefly contains open undulating grasslands, bush and acacia savannas, and swamps. In striking contrast to the great open plains, is the Maramagambo forest in its SE part.
The lake Edward region has two not very pronounced rainy seasons, March, May and August – November: the climate always allows visits to various parts of the park. (Annual rainfall at Mweya: 650mm, in nearby Katwe: 950mm); wettest months; Oct. driest: Jan.
Grasses of Themeda and imperata dominate the Savannas, often mixed with shrubs and trees, particularly red thorn acacia. Euphorbias (Euphorbia candelabra) and E. Dawei) are locally common, particularly on the Mweya peninsula. Thickets of wild olive and sansevieria occupy large areas. on the shores of rivers and lakes:
in the Kihabule forest, west of Katwe: A. sieberiana. Maramagambo forest, the only closed forest in the national Park, has Uganda ironwood mixed with warburgias, and Uapacas. About 4,000 elephants live in Queen Elizabeth N.P. A tree savanna with figs and albizzias occupies the most southern part of the park. Swamps harbor papyrus, cattails, Nile cabbage.
About 14,000 hippos, 18,000 buffaloes, and 4,000 elephants live in this national Park. On the open plains and in the thickets are herds of waterbucks, topis, Uganda kobs, as well as groups of bushbucks, bohor reedbucks, warthogs, and giant forest hogs. Among the carnivores: lions famous here for their tree – climbing ability, and spotted hyenas are common; with luck, the leopard, serval, honey badger (ratel), spotted – necked otter and civet may be seen. Other common animals are olive baboons, vervets, red – tailed monkeys, large – spotted genets, Mongooses.
The Maramagambo forest gives sancturary to the chimpanzee, colobus monkeys, blue monkey, duiker, red duiker, blue duiker, tree hyrax, bushpig, cape pangolin and others.
Some 543 birds have been recorded.
The astonishing tally lists among others; herons (15 species), storks (14 species), the lesser flamingo, birds of prey (50 species), pigeons and doves (13 species), cuckoos (14), rollers (4), king fishers (12), bee – eaters (eight), hornbills (four), swallows (17), shrikes (18) and sunbirds (16).
The most common reptiles: the Nile monitor lizard, the rock lizard, skinks, geckos, chameleons, the python, the puff adder, cobras, the boomslang, sand snakes (Psammophis), slender green bush snakes (philothamnus), the house snake, the marsh snake, and some turtles, terrapins, and tortoises.
Lake Edward, lake George, and the Kazinga channel are very rich in fish. The Nile – ngege is the prime health of the lakes. Other fish personalities: mudfish, catfish, the barbel, and a lung fish.
Created in 1963. This national park, in Karamoja with a common frontier with the Sudan, is in one of the wildest and most remote parts of Uganda, situated on a high plateau and surrounded by hills and rugged mountains.
The larger part consists of arid savannas water less for most of the year with mammal populations that move seasonally within the reserve. The narrower, western part of the area contains more water, moist habitats, and most of the animals. The vegetation and the animal life of the National park are surprisingly rich both in species and individuals. The area is heavily infested with tsetse flies.
North eastern corner of Uganda Area: 125,000 ha Protection total
The altitude varies between 1,300 and 2,250 meters. The kidepo River, running west ward with most of its length in Sudan, is dry for most of the year. There are permanent waters in some streams, swamps, waterholes and springs, important to the animals, holes and springs, important to the animals, particularly in the dry season. Hot springs occur.
Day time temperature high. A prolonged and severe dry period starts in September – October and ends in March – April. Wettest periods: April – May and July – August. (Average rainfall in Western part: 750 – 875 mm, in eastern sector: 625 – 750mm). Intensely dry winds make the plains vulnerable to fires that sweep through grassland and bushes.
Main vegetation of the kidepo valley N.P. is an arid woodland savanna consisting of Lannea – Acacia trees and thickets. Palms frige the river courses. Mountain slopes and valleys are clad in a forest – savannah mosaic, dominated by protea and Faurea, and rush gallery forests.
The N. park has 21 species of ungulates including zebra, giraffe, eland, roan, chandler’s mountain reedbuck, bohor reedbuck, Bright’s gazelle, dik – dik, klipspringer, great, kudu lesser kudu, hartebeest(most common antelope of the area), oribi, duiker, waterbuck, bushbuck, bush pig, and warthog. Elephants, buffaloes occur.
An impressive number of predators: lion, Leopard, and cheetah, caracal, serval, civet, mongooses (five species), stripped hyena, spotted hyena, aardwolf, and bat – eared fox. Side Black – backed jackals are common: wild dogs appear periodically. Other animals include vervet, red monkey, blue monkey, olive baboon, bush baby (galago), rock hyrax, aardvark, crested porcupine, and pangolins.
480 species, known to occur
Nile crocodile, monitor lizard, other lizards, snakes and tortoises.
Created in 1952.
Situated 20 north of the equator, this is the largest of Uganda’s national parks. Ninety – six km of the Victoria Nile flow west ward within this reserve, which also contains the famous Murchison falls and the delta where the Victoria Nile runs into lake Albert, a vast papyrus swamp land.
Daily launch trips on the Victoria Nile are arranged from the paraa safari lodge to the Murchison falls – a comfortable way to see the spectacular birdlife and to watch animals along the shores of the river. Crocodiles basking or swimming in great numbers, schools of hippopotamuses, elephants bathing and drinking.
This national park is a relatively flatland, covered chiefly by grassy or bushy savannas, swamps, scattered wood lands and a few patches of high forest. South of the national park is the Budongo forest. Chimpanzee live there. Location: Acholi and Bunyoro districts, northwestern Uganda. Area: 384,000 Protection: Total Access: By road from Kampala (304 km, via Masindi): by air from Entebbe.
Accommodation; Paraa safari lodge & chobe safari lodge.
GEOLOGY AND TOPOGRAPHY:
The soils of W half of this N/Park derive from relatively young lacustrine and volcanic deposits: in the E half, soils are formed from the underlying ancient pre – Cambrian rocks. However, much of the N/park’s soils are lateritic.
The average elevation of the national Park is 730 meters, the highest point being Rabongo Hill (elevation 1,292 meters) rising in the eastern part of the national park.
As the Victoria Nile flows Westward across the park, it cascades through the Karuma falls, then descends in a series of rapids to Murchison falls. It then flows majestically into lake Albert at the N. end of the Park, not far from the Lake’s outlet into the Albert Nile. one of the main attractions is the Murchison falls, where the immense Victoria Nile narrows its course through a Gorge eroded in the rock about 7 meters wide, and tumultuously down in a fall that is a drop of 43 meters.
Temperature is rather uniform: oscillating from 700F at night to 850 F at midday: the “long rains” occur chiefly from April through June: “short rains” Sept- October: with occasional rains in August and November. Annual rainfall varies; 1,000 – 1,250mm a year.
Tall grass savannas, where the dominant genus is jaragua grass associated with Guinea grass and lemon grass, and mixed tree and shrub savanna, mainly composed of acacias, terminalias, and combretums, dominate the vegetation park. The woodlands, almost entirely consisting of terminalia glancescens, continue to be greatly damaged by fire and continue to be greatly damaged by fire and by elephants to such an extent that the vegetation change from woodlands to grasslands may in the long run be a threat to the welfare of the elephants themselves.
The Rabongo forest, with Uganda ironwood the common tree, is a remnant of a much larger forest and was probably once contiguous with the Budongo forest. Beautiful riparian forests of mahogany may be seen at wairingo, and of Trichilia roka on the southern bank of the Victoria Nile between Murchison force and paraa. Papyrus covers vast areas in the Delta of the Victoria Nile at lake Albert and elsewhere around the shores of Lake Albert.
Launch trips for viewing animals have been mentioned, but animals may be seen almost every where in this national park. The principal mammal is the elephant, whose population of about 9,000 represents an over population that is modifying the vegetation; antelopes like Uganda kob, waterbuck, bohor reedbuck, bushbuck, bushbuck, and Oribi abound and so does the warthog.
Giraffes are numerous. Both black and white rhinoceroses occur (the latter is introduced). Among many other mammals are bushpig, olive baboon, grivet, red tailed monkey, black and white colobus, black–backed jackal, wilddog, spotted hyena, honey badger (ratel), Civet, lion, serval, leopard, duiker, red forest duiker, blue duiker, aardvark or ant bear, cape pangolin and crested porcupine.
The checklist of birds contains 423 species, among which herons (14 species), the whale – headed stork, falcons, (eight species), eagles (11 species), cranes (two), kingfishers (7) bee – eaters (ten) horrnbills (four), and sunbirds (11) may be mentioned. On some slippery rocks in the middle of the rapids just above Murchison falls, one may usually see a few white – collared pratincoles.
Some 41 species have been recorded though there must be more.
Include Nile perch (two species in lake Albert; lates niloticus, an inshore form, and L. macropthalimus, an offshore form), two species of tiger fish, electric cat fish, and Nile ngege. Fishes belonging to the Nile fauna are to be found below the Murchison falls but not above, with the exception of lates niloticus, introduced in lake Kyoga in 1956, which have since found their way into the Victoria Nile above the falls. Above the falls the waters are populated by lake Victoria fishes, which include two native tilapia species.
Created in 1952.
This beautiful rainforest was first designated in 1958 the Kayonza sanctuary (also officially called the Impenetrable central forest reserve), and in 1961 was named an animal sanctuary, the Kigezi Gorilla Sanctuary.
(the area of Kigezi Gorilla sanctuary should not be confused with another more northerly area called the Kigezi Game reserve. Situated geographically only about 56 km from the Queen Elizabeth national Park and even closer on the map of DRC Albert National Park.
Kigezi district, Sw Uganda Area: 33,000 ha Protection: severe Tourism; To be organized: nearest town by road; Kabale, Uganda (40 km).
A steeply undulating region of numerous ridges and valleys, and many small streams, the sanctuary lies at an altitude of 1,524 – 1, 676 meters
At these altitudes the air is chill at night: day temperatures ranging from 120 C to 25.50 c at 2,283 – meter level rainfall is rather high and so is the humidity.
At higher elevations there is a pure montane rainforest. Trees reach a height of 37 – 42 meters, forming a dense canopy though some light penetrates here and there. Tree genera such as pygeum, olea chrysophyllum, Olinia, polyscias, Newtonia and podocarpus are common, as are stands of treeferns. In unshadowed valleys are dense shrubs, herbs, and vines.
The mountain gorilla is the chief zoological feature of the Kayonza forest. The chimpanzee occurs here as well as several monkeys: Hoest’s monkey, blue monkey, red tailed monkey, and black – and white colobus.
Elephant, buffalo, duiker, bushbuck, and bushpig also occur.
Inconspicuous in the dense forest, birds make the air alive with their calls. Touracos and hornbills are often seen.